Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 16
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Baranger, David A. A. Ifrah, Chloé Prather, Aric A. Carey, Caitlin E. Corral-Frías, Nadia S. Drabant Conley, Emily Hariri, Ahmad R. and Bogdan, Ryan 2016. PER1 rs3027172 Genotype Interacts with Early Life Stress to Predict Problematic Alcohol Use, but Not Reward-Related Ventral Striatum Activity. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 7,

    de Almondes, Katie Moraes Júnior, Francisco Wilson Nogueira Holanda and Alves, Nelson Torro 2016. Sleep deprivation and implications for recognition and perception of facial emotions. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, Vol. 14, Issue. 1, p. 13.

    Greer, Stephanie M. Goldstein, Andrea N. Knutson, Brian and Walker, Matthew P. 2016. A Genetic Polymorphism of the Human Dopamine Transporter Determines the Impact of Sleep Deprivation on Brain Responses to Rewards and Punishments. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol. 28, Issue. 6, p. 803.

    Matthews, Karen A. Hall, Martica H. Cousins, Jennifer and Lee, Laisze 2016. Getting a Good Night's Sleep in Adolescence: Do Strategies for Coping With Stress Matter?. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, Vol. 14, Issue. 4, p. 367.

    McMakin, Dana L. Dahl, Ronald E. Buysse, Daniel J. Cousins, Jennifer C. Forbes, Erika E. Silk, Jennifer S. Siegle, Greg J. and Franzen, Peter L. 2016. The impact of experimental sleep restriction on affective functioning in social and nonsocial contexts among adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry,

    Palmer, Cara A. and Alfano, Candice A. 2016. Sleep and emotion regulation: An organizing, integrative review. Sleep Medicine Reviews,

    Soehner, Adriane M. Bertocci, Michele A. Manelis, Anna Bebko, Genna Ladouceur, Cecile D. Graur, Simona Monk, Kelly Bonar, Lisa K. Hickey, Mary Beth Axelson, David Goldstein, Benjamin I. Goldstein, Tina R. Birmaher, Boris and Phillips, Mary L. 2016. Preliminary investigation of the relationships between sleep duration, reward circuitry function, and mood dysregulation in youth offspring of parents with bipolar disorder. Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 205, p. 144.

    van Roekel, Eeske Bennik, Elise C. Bastiaansen, Jojanneke A. Verhagen, Maaike Ormel, Johan Engels, Rutger C. M. E. and Oldehinkel, Albertine J. 2016. Depressive Symptoms and the Experience of Pleasure in Daily Life: An Exploration of Associations in Early and Late Adolescence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Vol. 44, Issue. 5, p. 999.

    Bjork, James M. 2015. The Wiley Handbook on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Addiction.

    Goldschmied, Jennifer R. Cheng, Philip Kim, Hyang Sook Casement, Melynda Armitage, Roseanne and Deldin, Patricia J. 2015. Slow-wave disruption enhances the accessibility of positive memory traces. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Vol. 125, p. 168.

    Hasler, Brant P. Soehner, Adriane M. and Clark, Duncan B. 2015. Sleep and circadian contributions to adolescent alcohol use disorder. Alcohol, Vol. 49, Issue. 4, p. 377.

    Holsen, Laura M. and Goldstein, Jill M. 2015. Valuation and Cognitive Circuitry in Anorexia Nervosa: Disentangling Appetite from the Effort to Obtain a Reward. Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 77, Issue. 7, p. 604.

    Yaugher, Ashley C. and Alexander, Gerianne M. 2015. Internalizing and externalizing traits predict changes in sleep efficiency in emerging adulthood: an actigraphy study. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 6,

    Hasler, Brant P. Soehner, Adriane M. and Clark, Duncan B. 2014. Circadian rhythms and risk for substance use disorders in adolescence. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, Vol. 27, Issue. 6, p. 460.

    Pollack, Lauren O. and Lundgren, Jennifer D. 2014. Using the Neuroscience of Obesity, Eating Behavior, and Sleep to Inform the Neural Mechanisms of Night Eating Syndrome. Current Obesity Reports, Vol. 3, Issue. 1, p. 79.

    Tufik, Sergio B. Berro, Laís F. Andersen, Monica L. and Tufik, Sergio 2014. Bet on sleep for the understanding of pathological gambling. Journal of Psychiatric Research, Vol. 57, p. 176.


Sleep deprivation amplifies striatal activation to monetary reward

  • B. C. Mullin (a1), M. L. Phillips (a2) (a3), G. J. Siegle (a2), D. J. Buysse (a2), E. E. Forbes (a2) and P. L. Franzen (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 04 January 2013

Sleep loss produces abnormal increases in reward seeking but the mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are poorly understood. The present study examined the influence of one night of sleep deprivation on neural responses to a monetary reward task in a sample of late adolescents/young adults.


Using a within-subjects crossover design, 27 healthy, right-handed late adolescents/young adults (16 females, 11 males; mean age 23.1 years) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) following a night of sleep deprivation and following a night of normal sleep. Participants' recent sleep history was monitored using actigraphy for 1 week prior to each sleep condition.


Following sleep deprivation, participants exhibited increased activity in the ventral striatum (VS) and reduced deactivation in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) during the winning of monetary reward, relative to the same task following normal sleep conditions. Shorter total sleep time over the five nights before the sleep-deprived testing condition was associated with reduced deactivation in the mPFC during reward.


These findings support the hypothesis that sleep loss produces aberrant functioning in reward neural circuitry, increasing the salience of positively reinforcing stimuli. Aberrant reward functioning related to insufficient sleep may contribute to the development and maintenance of reward dysfunction-related disorders, such as compulsive gambling, eating, substance abuse and mood disorders.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: P. L. Franzen, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3811 O'Hara Street E-1119, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. (Email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J Aalto , K Kiianmaa (1986). REM-sleep deprivation-induced increase in ethanol intake: role of brain monoaminergic neurons. Alcohol 3, 377381.

KC Berridge , ML Kringelbach (2008). Affective neuroscience of pleasure: reward in humans and animals. Psychopharmacology 199, 457480.

KJ Brower , MS Aldrich , JM Hall (1998). Polysomnographic and subjective sleep predictors of alcoholic relapse. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research 22, 18641871.

MWL Chee , WC Choo (2004). Functional imaging of working memory after 24 hr of total sleep deprivation. Journal of Neuroscience 24, 45604567.

MWL Chee , JC Tan , H Zheng , S Parimal , DH Weissman , V Zagorodnov , DF Dinges (2008). Lapsing during sleep deprivation is associated with distributed changes in brain activation. Journal of Neuroscience 28, 55195528.

C Colombo , F Benedetti , B Barbini , E Campori , E Smeraldi (1999). Rate of switch from depression into mania after therapeutic sleep deprivation in bipolar depression. Psychiatric Research 86, 267270.

A Di Martino , A Scheres , DS Margulies , A Kelly , LQ Uddin , Z Shehzad , B Biswal , JR Walters , FX Castellanos , MP Milham (2008). Functional connectivity of human striatum: a resting state fMRI study. Cerebral Cortex 18, 27352747.

SP Drummond , GG Brown , JL Stricker , RB Buxton , EC Wong , JC Gillin (1999). Sleep deprivation-induced reduction in cortical functional response to serial subtraction. Neuroreport 10, 37453748.

SP Drummond , MJ Meloy , MA Yanagi , HJ Orff , GG Brown (2005). Compensatory recruitment after sleep deprivation and the relationship with performance. Psychiatry Research 140, 211223.

M Ernst , EE Nelson , S Jazbec , EB McClure , CS Monk , E Leibenluft , J Blair , DS Pine (2005). Amygdala and nucleus accumbens in responses to receipt and omission of gains in adults and adolescents. NeuroImage 25, 12791291.

M Ernst , EE Nelson , EB McClure , CS Monk , S Munson , N Eshel , E Zarahn , E Leibenluft , A Zametkin , K Towbin , J Blair , D Charney , DS Pine (2004). Choice selection and reward anticipation: an fMRI study. Neuropsychologia 42, 15851597.

EE Forbes , SM Brown , M Kimak , RE Ferrell , SB Manuck , AR Hariri (2009). Genetic variation in components of dopamine neurotransmission impacts ventral striatal reactivity associated with impulsivity. Molecular Psychiatry 14, 6070.

EE Forbes , RE Dahl (2012). Research review: Altered reward function in adolescent depression: what, when and how? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 53, 315.

EE Forbes , TM Olino , ND Ryan , B Birmaher , D Axelson , DL Moyles , RE Dahl (2010). Reward-related brain function as a predictor of treatment response in adolescents with major depressive disorder. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience 10, 107118.

PL Franzen , DJ Buysse , RE Dahl , W Thompson , GJ Siegle (2009). Sleep deprivation alters pupillary reactivity to emotional stimuli in healthy young adults. Biological Psychology 80, 300305.

N Goel , H Rao , JS Durmer , DF Dinges (2009). Neurocognitive consequences of sleep deprivation. Seminars in Neurology 29, 320339.

MA Grandner , NP Patel , PR Gehrman , ML Perlis , AI Pack (2010). Problems associated with short sleep: bridging the gap between laboratory and epidemiological studies. Sleep Medicine Reviews 14, 239247.

N Gujar , SS Yoo , P Hu , MP Walker (2010). The unrested resting brain: sleep deprivation alters activity within the default-mode network. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 22, 16371648.

N Gujar , SS Yoo , P Hu , MP Walker (2011). Sleep deprivation amplifies reactivity of brain reward networks, biasing the appraisal of positive emotional experiences. Journal of Neuroscience 31, 44664474.

SN Haber , B Knutson (2010). The reward circuit: linking primate anatomy and human imaging. Neuropsychopharmacology 35, 426.

A Jackson , J Cavanagh , J Scott (2003). A systematic review of manic and depressive prodromes. Journal of Affective Disorders 74, 209217.

RC Kessler , P Berglund , O Demler , R Jin , KR Merikangas , EE Walters (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry 62, 593602.

P Kirsch , A Schienle , R Stark , G Sammer , C Blecker , B Walter , U Ott , J Burkart , D Vaitl (2003). Anticipation of reward in a nonaversive differential conditioning paradigm and the brain reward system: an event-related fMRI study. NeuroImage 20, 10861095.

X Liu , DK Powell , H Wang , BT Gold , CR Corbly , JE Joseph (2007). Functional dissociation in frontal and striatal areas for processing of positive and negative reward information. Journal of Neuroscience 27, 45874597.

MF Mason , MI Norton , JD Van Horn , DM Wegner , ST Grafton , CN Macrae (2007). Wandering minds: the default network and stimulus-independent thought. Science 315, 393395.

BS McKenna , DL Dickinson , HJ Orff , SP Drummond (2007). The effects of one night of sleep deprivation on known-risk and ambiguous-risk decisions. Journal of Sleep Research 16, 245252.

R Millman (2005). Excessive sleepiness in adolescents and young adults: causes, consequences, and treatment strategies. Pediatrics 115, 17741786.

AV Nedeltcheva , JM Kilkus , J Imperial , K Kasza , DA Schoeller , PD Penev (2009). Sleep curtailment is accompanied by increased intake of calories from snacks. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 89, 126133.

JP O'Doherty (2004). Reward representations and reward-related learning in the human brain: insights from neuroimaging. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 14, 769776.

JP O'Doherty , R Deichmann , HD Critchley , RJ Dolan (2002). Neural responses during anticipation of a primary taste reward. Neuron 33, 815826.

P Philip , J Taillard , P Sagaspe , C Valtat , M Sanchez-Ortuno , N Moore , A Charles , B Bioulac (2004). Age, performance and sleep deprivation. Journal of Sleep Research 13, 105110.

ML Phillips , CD Ladouceur , WC Drevets (2008). A neural model of voluntary and automatic emotion regulation: implications for understanding the pathophysiology and neurodevelopment of bipolar disorder. Molecular Psychiatry 13, 833857.

RB Postuma , A Dagher (2006). Basal ganglia functional connectivity based on a meta-analysis of 126 positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging publications. Cerebral Cortex 16, 15081521.

MD Puhl , J Fang , PS Grigson (2009). Acute sleep deprivation increases the rate and efficiency of cocaine self-administration, but not the perceived value of cocaine reward in rats. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 94, 262270.

L Rademacher , S Krach , G Kohls , A Irmak , G Gründer , KN Spreckelmeyer (2010). Dissociation of neural networks for anticipation and consumption of monetary and social rewards. NeuroImage 49, 32763285.

ME Raichle , AM MacLeod , AZ Snyder , WJ Powers , DA Gusnard , GL Shulman (2001). A default mode of brain function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 98, 676682.

KN Spreckelmeyer , S Krach , G Kohls , L Rademacher , A Irmak , K Konrad , T Kircher , G Gründer (2009). Anticipation of monetary and social reward differently activates mesolimbic brain structures in men and women. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 4, 158165.

A Steptoe , V Peacey , J Wardle (2006). Sleep duration and health in young adults. Archives of Internal Medicine 166, 16891692.

M Thomas , H Sing , G Belenky , H Holcomb , H Mayberg , R Dannals , H Wagner , D Thorne , K Popp , L Rowland , A Welsh , S Balwinski , D Redmond (2000). Neural basis of alertness and cognitive performance impairments during sleepiness. I. Effects of 24 h of sleep deprivation on waking human regional brain activity. Journal of Sleep Research 9, 335352.

ML Thomas , HC Sing , G Belenky , HH Holcomb , HS Mayberg , RF Dannals , HN Wagner , DR Thorne , KA Popp , LM Rowland , AB Welsh , SM Balwinski , DP Redmond (2003). Neural basis of alertness and cognitive performance impairments during sleepiness. II. Effects of 48 and 72 h of sleep deprivation on waking human regional brain activity. Thalamus and Related Systems 2, 199229.

D Tomasi , RL Wang , F Telang , V Boronikolas , MC Jayne , GJ Wang , JS Fowler , ND Volkow (2009). Impairment of attentional networks after 1 night of sleep deprivation. Cerebral Cortex 19, 233240.

LQ Uddin , M Iacoboni , C Lange , JP Keenan (2007). The self and social cognition: the role of cortical midline structures and mirror neurons. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11, 153157.

L Van Leijenhorst , K Zanolie , CS Van Meel , PM Westenberg , S Rombouts , EA Crone (2010). What motivates the adolescent? Brain regions mediating reward sensitivity across adolescence. Cerebral Cortex 20, 6169.

V Venkatraman , SA Huettel , LYM Chuah , JW Payne , MWL Chee (2011). Sleep deprivation biases the neural mechanisms underlying economic preferences. Journal of Neuroscience 31, 37123718.

ND Volkow , D Tomasi , G Wang , F Telang , JS Fowler , RL Wang , J Logan , C Wong , M Jayne , JM Swanson (2009). Hyperstimulation of striatal D2 receptors with sleep deprivation: Implications for cognitive impairment. NeuroImage 45, 12321240.

JC Wu , JC Gillin , MS Buchsbaum , P Chen , DB Keator , NK Wu , LA Darnall , JH Fallon , WE Bunney (2006). Frontal lobe metabolic decreases with sleep deprivation not totally reversed by recovery sleep. Neuropsychopharmacology 31, 27832792.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *